Mapping of groundwater salinization and modelling using meta-heuristic algorithms for the coastal aquifer of eastern Saudi Arabia

S. I. Abba, Mohammed Benaafi*, A. G. Usman, Dilber Uzun Ozsahin, Bassam Tawabini, Isam H. Aljundi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The growing increase in groundwater (GW) salinization in the coastal aquifers has reached an alarming socio-economic menace in Saudi Arabia and various places globally due to several natural and anthropogenic activities. Hence, evaluating the GW salinization is paramount to safeguarding the water resources planning and management. This study presents three different scenarios viz.: real field investigation, experimental laboratory analysis (using ion chromatography (IC) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), etc.), and artificial intelligence (AI) based metaheuristic optimization (MO) algorithms in Saudi Arabia. The main purpose of this study is to validate the obtained experimental-based analysis using hybrid MO techniques comprising of adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) hybridized with genetic algorithm (GA), particle swarm optimization (PSO), and biogeography-based optimization (BBO) for identification of GW salinization in the coastal region of eastern Saudi Arabia. Additionally, ArcGIS 10.3 software generates the prediction map based on ANFIS-GA, ANFIS-PSO, and ANFIS-BBO. Feature selection was assessed using the PSO algorithm, and four indices evaluated the estimated models, namely, root mean square error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE), mean absolute percentage error (MAPE), and standard deviation (SD). The simulated results are based on three variable input combinations, which showed that the ANFIS-PSO (MAE = 0.00439) algorithm had the highest accuracy (99 %), followed by the ANFIS-GA (MAE = 0.00767) and ANFIS-BBO (MAE = 0.0132) algorithms. Besides, Ca2+, Na+, Mg2+, and Cl were the most influential parameters. The accuracy also demonstrated the potential reliability of MO algorithms based on spatial distribution mapping. The employed approach proved to be merit and reliable tool for water resources decision-makers in the coastal aquifer of Saudi Arabia. This approach is believed to improve water scarcity as one of the essential targets for Goal 6 of Sustainable Development Vision 2030 and the Kingdom in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159697
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Coastal aquifer
  • Groundwater
  • Salinity
  • Water sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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